Monday, December 27, 2010

Gold Foil: Imitation or Genuine?

If you've been at the craft for very long, chances are you've picked up a few unidentified rolls of gold foil. Cloth bindings aren't very particular; they like cheap foil as much as the real thing. If you use imitation gold on leather, however, it doesn't take very long before the fake gold loses its luster and turns a corroded green.

In February, I took a box of unidentified foil and stamped a sample card with each one. In just a few months, I had proof of which foils were imitation and, as an added bonus, had a sample card to help choose between different shades of the real stuff. In the picture, stamps 1 through A are from February, with 1, 6, 7 & 8 being fake. The photo doesn't really capture this well. The imitation foils are now black, which can be rubbed off with a thumbnail to reveal a dull metallic underneath. The genuine foil is bright and crisp and with a variety of shades from almost white through a reddish-orange tint.
I tested a second batch (B-H) on December 16th. C and H look dark in the photo, but that's just from the flash. Pretty slow and very low tech, but time reveals true character! (Insert wise proverb here...)


Karl said...

As an old hand but new to bookbinding and particularly stamping I was interested in your comments on the difference between gold foil and genuine gold foil. But nothing apppeared nor could I find anything.
Can you help.?

The Gilded Leaf said...

I'm not sure what you're asking, but here's a stab at it. Most hotstamping of book covers is done with imitation gold foil: lesser metals tinted to look like gold. It's a fine way to decorate unless applied to leather, in which case chemicals in the leather often react poorly. Hope that helps! You're welcome to email directly if it doesn't. BR